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Japantown (San Jose), San Jose

(2.7/5 based on 85+ reviews on the web)
Japantown is the portion of San Jose, California bounded by First Street to the west, 8th Street to the east, Empire Street to the south and Taylor Street to the north; it is just north of Downtown San Jose. Japantown originally formed around the existing "Heinlenville" Chinatown settlement. During World War II, the Japanese American population was forcibly removed from Japantown and unjustly incarcerated in camps. On their return after the war, many resettled in the area. The expansion and growth of Silicon Valley caused many Japanese to leave the area, but the culture and vitality of this community remains. Japantown is designated as an authentic ethnic neighborhood and is home to many traditional Japanese restaurants as well. The California State Legislation designated this area as one of the last three remaining historical Japantowns in the United States. The area has embarked upon capital improvement projects that have engaged the neighborhood and community in discussion and planning for the future of the area. New market rate housing has attracted new residents who love the neighborly feel and walkable community. Currently, awards won for work on the first phase, Historic District Reconnaissance Survey recognize the significant contributions of the Chinese and Japanese legacies.Japantown is the site of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, San Jose Taiko, Shuei-do Manju Shop, Nichi Bei, hand-made tofu at San Jose Tofu, and a variety of restaurants, professional services, community organizations and small retail shops. Having been written up in the New York Times, the 7 Bamboo Lounge is one of the most popular karaoke bars in the Bay Area. Two churches founded by Japanese over 100 years ago, Wesley United Methodist Church and San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, thrive on the same street, Fifth Street, which now also leads to the new San Jose City Hall. Indeed, the Fifth and Jackson Landmark was designed to be seen from City Hall as a beacon and reminder of the people that have helped to build the city.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Obvious efforts being made to preserve to remaining historic sites, while still allowing commercial activity. Fascinating area to visit, will return!  more »
  • Gombei's whiteboard is a consistent source excellent of lunch / dinner eats (and great value). Bamboo7 - new owners, but as much karaoke as anyone can reasonably handle!  more »
  • San Jose's Japantown is about to receive a major expansion. The empty five-acre "Corporation Yard" is slated for a huge and unique development later this year. Meanwhile, at least one of the historic ...  more »